April Feature Teacher at SVE - Miss Donovan


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A Masterpiece in the Making

Art and people go hand and hand; each has a story that needs to be told. Miss Donovan grew up in a small town similar to Spencer.

“There were more cows than people” in Nunda, New York says Miss Donovan.

She has one sister who is eight years older than her. Donovan lives with her mother, and they have been on their own for the past 10 years. Everyone has that one member in their family that is special and very close. For Donovan it was her grandmother.

Everyone has their one passion or career of choice, Miss Donovan’s is art. She loves that art gives her the ability to express who she is and how she feels.

She insists that “…art is a window into someone’s else’s head.” In other words, art is not the only way to get to know someone, but through their art, a part of their life has been told.

Miss Donovan is in her last year of college. She goes to Elmira College, and she absolutely loves it. She double-majors in Visual Arts Education and Psychology, and due to the small population, she has excellent teacher communication.

However, the one thing she struggles with is time management. “I tend to take on too much at once” she shared.

She will miss her time spent at Elmira College. She made many friends and will miss them dearly. Her time there has been well spent.

Currently Miss Donovan is student teaching at Spencer-Van Etten High School with Art teacher Jay McIntosh. She loves it with a passion. Everyone has been very welcoming.

Due to the size of SVE, the small community, it reminds her of home. She wishes she could teach here and will miss the connections she’s made with teachers and students.

Lastly, Miss Donovan’s advice to future generations before she says goodbye: “Always stay true to yourself and always remember the lessons people have taught you along the way.”

Everyone at Spencer-Van Etten will miss her. We hope her journey into a masterpiece comes soon.



March Feature Teacher at Spencer-Van Etten High School

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A Reflection on guidance


Ms. Baxter the new guidance counselor at Spencer-Van Etten High School, has set a remarkable example of how to go somewhere in life. She tells us the journey and aspects of her life that make her the shining example she has become today for all students.
She lived in Williamstown, NY (2 hours and 10 minutes north of Spencer). Her mom works with pre-K students, and her dad is the manager at a restaurant. Also, she is the youngest of three: her brother being a U.S. Marine and her sister working at Suburban Propane.
During her college life, Ms. Baxter was as busy as can be to ensure she became a true success. She went to SUNY Onondaga Community College for 1 semester Fall 2010 because she was not accepted to SUNY Cortland until the Spring 2011 semester. she was pretty bummed about this.
At SUNY Cortland she received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology.
“I wasn't the "typical" college student. I wanted to graduate early so I constantly had my head in the books,” states Baxter.
Shevolunteered regularly around Cortland and for the college and ended up graduating one semester early and soon headed to SUNY Oswego and got her Master's Degree.
Ms. Baxter was an excellent student who did whatever she could to become a success.
“I have a Master's of Science Degree in Counseling Services with a specialty in School Counseling and a Certificate of Advance Studies in Counseling Services with a specialty in Mental Health. I liked college enough to go back if someone were to offer me free tuition.”
Everyone finds their place in the world that brings comfortability and for Ms. Baxter it is Spencer. Her words were “I feel at home at Spencer. From the surroundings all the way to the school. Spencer and Spencer-Van Etten high school are very similar to where I was brought up and the school that I went to.”
Even on the worst day Ms. Baxter finds the happiness in her job with acts of kindness and simple details that help her days go by.
“Every day is something new. I wear a ton of hats which makes it so the days go too quickly and I never get bored. My favorite aspect of the job is working with students towards their future goals and careers. I really enjoy the college piece of this job from helping the students learn about colleges and the majors that are out there all the way to finding out where the student was officially accepted” she decreed with a smile.
Now of course no matter the job there is always that one thing we truly detest, and Ms. Baxter has hers. “Scheduling! When I spend forever on a student's schedule, and then they want to switch it around” she states with the highest frustration in her voice.
To end this journey, Ms. Baxter’s advises future generations to “…know that you are capable of everything and anything. The future is in your hands. You ultimately make the choice to live a positive healthy life...”
By Caitlyn Secondo

January - February Feature Teacher at Spencer - Van Etten High School


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Mr. Ron Miller

Future into Learning

After college we all go to places of business to learn how to do the potential career we want. At Spencer-Van Etten High School, Broadcast Journalism had the privilege of interviewing student teacher Mr. Miller on how he became a teacher.

He grew up in Oswego where he lived with his two sisters. He is the middle child and both of his parents are teachers. More importantly, his dad is our very own gym teacher.

Mr. Ronny Miller went to Binghamton University where the classes were huge, and he had to do a lot of presentations. However, the people were great, and he had a lot of fun and would not regret a second of it.

Next, what we really want to know is what made him want to be a teacher in the first place. Mr. Miller used to work with at-risk children, and this helped put his career path in perspective. He realized he wanted to become a teacher to make a difference before it was too late.

Now of course because he is a teacher, people are curious what subject he absolutely detests. He cannot stand math. It was difficult, and it just did not come easily to him. Hopefully no one tells Mr. Cole, or there may be a battle coming Mr. Miller’s way.

Also, his sister used to substitute teacher here and gave him the advice to come here in the first place.

Since he has been here for two months, he states “it’s a great eye opener.” He never went to a small school, which showed him the smaller the community the greater the communication.

In the future he hopes to get a job either at BOCES or SVE, but fate will take him where ever he can get a job.

Lastly, Mr. Miller left us with advice for the future generations. “You only fail, when you stop trying.”

By Caitlyn Secondo

November - December Feature Teacher at Spencer - Van Etten

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Mr. James Howey, Lessons to be Learned
We all have a story that turned us into who we are today, that brought us to the life we lead. I interviewed Mr. Howey to learn what makes him the individual he is today.

He grew up in Waverly, one mile from the Spencer-Van Etten School District, where he still currently lives today with his wife and three children…soon to be four.

Mr. Howey’s surrounds himself with discipline and sports. So, of course inquiring minds want to know where his love for sports came from. Not surprisingly he actively participates in sports and has done so his entire life. His first competitive sport was dancing. From kindergarten to graduation he danced competitively, and he wrestled since the third grade. To add to that he lettered in football, baseball, track, and cross country. He also wrestled in the army and worked as a gymnastics’ instructor his junior and senior years of college.

“Sports give you life lessons you would not get in a classroom” according to Howey. He also said “…in some ways sports can just feel like the closest thing to life itself.” His passion for life and sports comes through in all he does each day at SVE.

Everyone has a favorite in everything. Mr. Howey’s favorite sport, wrestling “…demands struggles, achievements, short comings, and wins. It can teach you the determination and self-worth needed in life” Howey asserts.

His least favorite sport is swimming. “In any other sport, when you get tired you stop. You do not die.” Obviously that does not work for swimming. Remember to take breaks, stay focused, and actively pursue your goals.

Mr. Howey received his undergraduate degree at Ithaca College. Then he earned his master’s degree online and went to Suny Cortland for his administrative degree. From all of that hard work he learned more about cultural changes around him helping him prepare for his ever-changing future.

Next he journeyed to Spencer-Van Etten where he received employed at the high school. He chose Spencer because he grew up around here and desired to stay in this area. This also fit his plan since his drive remains short. He feels at home here too.

When asked about the job so far, Mr. Howey gleefully exclaimed “The people here are great and have given fantastic support to help make things work.” He loves the place.

Mr. Howey has some key advice for the future generations. “Have respect for yourself and the others around you. It will take you far in life.”

by Caitlyn Secondo

September - October Feature Teacher at Spencer - Van Etten

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Mrs. Maria Gimma, SVE Spanish Teacher

The Past Coming Home

In every school you have your year round teacher, substitute teacher, the retired teacher who comes back. But one that does not get mentioned as often are the teachers who return home to teach where part of their career began.
Most people when they leave a town do not ever look back and start a new beginning. However, in this case a past teacher came back with a smile on her face saying “I’m glad to be here!”
This is Mrs. Maria Claudia Gimma, Spanish teacher for our high school students at SVE and conversational Spanish teacher for Cornell University.
When asked about what it was like to back in SVE she said “it feels like coming home” because her daughter graduated from SVE, and she knows a lot of people here who have been very welcoming to her return.
Her drive towards being a Spanish teacher was a natural progression, due to the fact people would ask her a lot about her culture and ask for help with learning Spanish. But also because she’s always loved teaching and enjoys opening people’s eyes to different cultures.
If she wasn’t a teacher she would want to be a photographer because she travels around the world for Cornell taking pictures to show the different cultures and to give everyone a visual picture of what life is like in these different countries.
In addition, we all have our opinions like what is the ideal student? And to Gimma it’s someone not afraid to take risks, who is willing to except failure and learn from it. She believes it’s important to learn another language because it opens up your mind to diversity, allows you to communicate with so many other people, and most people either speak English almost anywhere you go so the skill is very useful.
Everyone has a history and here is Gimma’s. She came to America at the age of 12, she and her family were not planning on staying. The only reason they came was because her sister was very ill, so her mom tried to get her and the family green cards.
However, she only able to get Maria and her sister student visa’s, her parents could not stay in America. She and her sister lived with their uncle, but no one spoke Spanish. So life was very lonely and eventually she felt like she did not belong. Transitions are never easy, but slowly the more she learned about America the more she loved it and could call it home.
Something on everyone’s minds are the differences between Spain and the United States. For example, in the school system in Spain all of the schools are like military academies. The teachers switch classes instead of the students and when a student answers a question you have to stand up and bow your head because it is a sign of respect, and you cannot sit back down until told to by the teacher.
One of the most confusing customs is the celebrating of holidays. For instance, on Christmas we all exchange gifts and spend time with family; however, in Spain they also dance and sing. In the United States holidays are generally quieter, and we do not sing or dance. Her favorite part about America is that no matter who you are you can be whoever you want to be.
And of course everyone has his or her goals. For Gimma getting people to not be narrow-minded, to take the time to check all of the facts, she pursues constantly.
As a last remark, we asked Maria Gimma what advice she has for future generations. Her response “to be persistent, don’t give up on what you want to do. Nothing’s impossible! There are always ways to step around to get where you need to be.”
by Caitlyn Secondo